Defense

Pentagon confirms ISIS has taken Jordanian pilot

The Pentagon confirmed Wednesday that a Jordanian F-16 jet crashed in Syria and that the pilot has been taken captive by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“A Jordanian F-16 aircraft crashed in the vicinity of the northern Syrian city of Ar-Raqqah on Wednesday and the pilot has been taken captive by ISIL forces,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement, using an alternate name for the terrorist group.

“The Jordanians are highly-respected and valued partners and their pilots and crews have performed exceptionally well over the course of this campaign,” Centcom’s commander Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III said in the statement.   

Jordan has been participating in the U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes against ISIS in Syria since September. 

{mosads}Centcom said that, contrary to ISIS’s claims, the group did not bring down the F-16. 

“Evidence clearly indicates that ISIL did not down the aircraft as the terrorist organization is claiming,” the statement said. 

But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group led by a Syrian expatriate in the United Kingdom, said ISIS militants used an anti-aircraft missile to shoot down the jet. 

Austin, who is overseeing all coalition military operations in Iraq and Syria, said the U.S. would support attempts to rescue the pilot. 

“We strongly condemn the actions of ISIL which has taken captive the downed pilot. We will support efforts to ensure his safe recovery, and will not tolerate ISIL’s attempts to misrepresent or exploit this unfortunate aircraft crash for their own purposes,” he said. 

Jordan warned ISIS earlier Wednesday against harming its pilot. The group has released videos showing the beheadings of American and British hostages, as well as pictures of slain Iraqi troops and citizens who oppose the group. 

“Jordan holds the group [ISIS] and its supporters responsible for the safety of the pilot and his life,” the Jordanian army said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Ben Kamisar contributed to this report.

Tags ISIL ISIS Jordan Syria

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